By Jake Landau, Contributing Writer
Talent Identification by European Coaches
Why don’t we hear more about talent Identification by european coaches? The United States has been a gold mine of talented soccer players for a long time. Soccer is the most played sport by America’s youth. Historically there have only been a handful of Americans to make the jump across the Atlantic. Many US players are on competitive teams playing at a high level. It’s a surprise that only recently have European soccer academies and coaches taken notice of American soccer players.
European soccer coaches are starting to notice the talent that is growing in the United States. Scouts attend tournaments and look at players. Some are even being invited for identification camps or trials for a spot in a European academy. If you’re a player or a parent looking to realize the dream of playing soccer in Europe it’s important to know what European coaches are looking for.
Most European scouts and coaches base their identification of players on “The 4 Corner Model” which includes technical/tactical, psychological, physical, and social evaluations of players.
How to Stand Out in Identification Camps
Players seeking talent identification by european coaches at camps or trials can focus on a few key traits to stand out.
- Players should focus on having a controlled first-touch
- Try to play as much as possible with your head up scanning the pitch
- Understand where and when to move into space
- Play fast but try to think even faster. Demonstrating you understand where you and your teammates should be in the next phase of play shows a maturity and soccer IQ for young players
- Learn from your mistakes and try to always be positive and encouraging with yourself and others
- You don’t have to be the biggest kid on the pitch to stand out! Understanding how to use your body can go a long way
- If you’re bigger for your age group, show you understand how to use that to your advantage. For example, try to shield the ball or out-run others. If you’re smaller try to show your advantage will balance and quick movements
- Above all, genuinely love soccer. Coaches look for players who play because they love it.
- Coaches will only invest in you if they know you will enjoy the process of practicing, learning, and playing soccer
- Show you are open to learning new skills or accepting of advice from your coach or other players. This is a great way to boost your chances of being identified. See coachability
The Changing Landscape of Developing American Soccer Players
American kids are moving to European academies more than ever before. From top sides in England to lower levels across broader Europe these opportunities are out there. United States’ youth can stand out and test themselves in a new environment. Because as more and more players develop into exceptional players the eyes of the world will turn to America.
Meanwhile, the US is hosting the 2026 World Cup. Club teams across the world will be taking notice of soccer in the US. Talent Identification by european coaches will only increase more and more.
Jake Landau is a US Soccer Federation and UEFA C licensed coach. He is a writer and content creator. He has a newsletter (https://itscalledsoccer.substack.com/). He also hosts a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/ItsCalledSoccer). It is dedicated to growing the beautiful game in the US.
It’s Called Soccer focuses on USMNT, MLS, Champions League, and yanks abroad. With a coach’s perspective of tactical analysis, Jake has worked with El Salvador National Team manager Hugo Perez, The Guardian’s Tom Bogert, and multiple American youth players currently in European academies.
Return to HomePage